Dadi Pudumjee, born 1951, trained under legendary puppetry artist Meher Contractor, was a guest student at Marionette Theatre Institute] in Stockholm under Michael Meschke, where he also participated in workshops run by Minosuke Yoshida of the National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka, Japan.
Dadi Pudumjee is founder of the cross-cultural company, The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust (New Delhi), where he works as director, designer and puppeteer, collaborating with puppeteers, actors and dancers, both traditional and modern. His work spans multiple cultural traditions – from India and beyond, especially countries of the East. Ishara has trained and continues to train and offer workshops in puppet theatre to youth and adults with an equal focus on social causes and entertainment. The Trust organises one of the most important annual theatre festivals in the country – The Ishara International Puppet Theatre Festival, held in Delhi; 2016 was the festival’s 15th season. Among its many projects, The Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust ran a programme on HIV/AIDS awareness and substance abuse, supported by UNESCO. He has received several prestigious awards in India for his work and contribution to puppet theatre, notably the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992 and the Padmashree in 2011, the latter presented by the President of India for Dadi Pudumjee’s contribution to puppetry. Dadi Pudumjee is a former President of UNIMA India and UNIMA International’s Asia-Pacific Commission, a Vice-President of UNIMA International (1992-2004) and is President of UNIMA International since 2008. Since 2016, he is the President of UNIMA International’s Social Justice Commission.